Syfy strikes out with ‘Banana Splits’ horror movie

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The Syfy audience can be a fickle mistress.

Sure, viewers will turn out in droves to see a tornado full of sharks, but when the star and director of that franchise reunite for a movie about a tidal wave filled with zombies, you barely hear a peep.

No, really. “Zombie Tidal Wave” was an actual thing, less than two months ago.

Perhaps it was a miscalculation. Who’s to say Syfy wouldn’t have generated more buzz with “Werewolf Cold Front,” or maybe “Vampire Monsoon.”

Anyway, you can’t blame Syfy executives for greenlighting any bad idea, no matter how nonsensical, in hopes of launching the next “Sharknado.”

“The Banana Splits Movie” (9 p.m. Saturday) — which takes a TV show that was ideal for very young children and the Saturday morning wake-and-bake crowd and turns it into a horror film — is not that project.

Oh, it’s terrible all right, on almost every level. There’s just zero reason to be invested in this bizarre and desperate reimagining of the short-lived series about a rock band made up of Fleegle the guitar-playing beagle, Bingo the drumming ape, Drooper the bass-playing lion and Snorky the elephant keyboardist.

“There’s not too many kids his age that still like that show,” Beth (Dani Kind) says of her young son Harley’s fascination with The Splits.

“That’s because it’s stupid, Beth,” her nightmare of a husband (Steve Lund) declares.

Actually, that’s because only 31 episodes of “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour” were made, they aired from 1968 to ’69, and they fell out of syndication in 1982, Beth.

In the world of “The Banana Splits Movie,” though, the costumed creations are still cranking out episodes, and Beth is taking Harley (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) to a taping for his birthday while dragging the rest of the family along with them.

Also, the movie reveals that Fleegle and the gang are actually robots who, when they learn the show has been canceled, go haywire and begin kidnapping the children in the audience and murdering the adults.

This is a very real thing that someone was paid even a modest amount of money to create.

The actors playing the robotic creations only occasionally remember to move like robots.

Then there’s the scene in which an audience member’s face is being burned off by a Split and — for reasons known perhaps only to the actor — he casually removes his jacket before crumpling to the floor in agony.

The whole thing feels like an elaborate Jimmy Fallon sketch drawn out 80 minutes too long.

Maybe it would have worked out better if the creators had delivered those kid-friendly murderous robots inside a tsunami.

Contact Christopher Lawrence at clawrence@reviewjournal.com or
702-380-4567. Follow @life_onthecouch on Twitter.

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